The secret to getting your dental patient on side

Instilling a proactive attitude towards ‘oral health for life’ in patients can be challenging at the best of times, particularly if statistics from public opinion surveys such as that of the British Dental Health Foundation are anything to go by.

As experts will tell you, there is a whole area of science devoted to the psychology of behaviour change, providing a wealth of knowledge that can be tapped into when trying to educate and motivate patients.

Along with newly qualified teachers, many dental health professionals are acutely aware that one needs to employ every trick in the book when it comes to engaging and influencing patients and getting them to take more responsibility for their oral hygiene, particularly where periodontal health is concerned.

According to Kirsten Warrer DDS. Ph.D., associate professor of periodontology at the Royal Dental College, University of Aarhus in Denmark, it isn’t just that patients are set in their ways.

Patient apathy can be a real impediment to eliminating bad habits but Dr Warrer feels that it is also often that the clinician concerned has not been exposed to proven strategies for success when it comes to communicating more effectively with their patients.

Naturally, busy clinicians don’t always have the time to acquire such specialist skills, often gained through trial and error over years of practise, particularly when a patient’s periodontal health is at stake.

Fortunately, pedagogical experts at Hamburg University in Germany have pooled all their knowledge and skills in this area to develop an innovative one-to-one patient education system called iTOP (which stands for ‘individually taught oral prevention’) and available through Curaprox, that aims to gradually initiate dental care professionals into the secrets behind effective patient coaching.

iTOP consists of three flexible modules – Introductory, Advanced and Top Level (Instructor) – that allow dental professionals to gradually build on their teaching skills, with the Advanced and Top levels specifically developed for lecturing dentists and hygienists.

Delegates can choose to take the Introductory course on its own or progress through to Instructor level, depending on their own career objectives.

UK dental professionals keen to discover more about how this revolutionary system can empower their patients and encourage better attendance, will be able to catch an iTOP course in their area during 2011.

Dr Warrer will be leading several Introductory and Advanced iTOP sessions providing up to 10 hours of verifiable CPD, as well as discussing the challenges of patient compliance when it comes to periodontal disease, at several venues around the country, including London and Macclesfield throughout the year.

Planned dates so far include:

• iTOP Introductory 15 and 16 April 2011 at Shrigley Hall, Macclesfield in Cheshire

• iTOP Introductory 17 and 18 June 2011 at Walton Hall in Warwickshire

• Advanced iTOP 16 and 17 September 2011 at Walton Hall in Warwickshire

• iTOP Introductory 11 and 12 November 2011 at London (location to be announced)

iTOP courses specifically focused on how to get patients to comply with implant care and maintenance instructions (counting towards 7 hours of verifiable CPD), are also planned for the following dates and venues:

• Monday 13 June – Edinburgh Carlton Hotel

• Tuesday 14 June – Shrigley Hall Hotel, Cheshire

• Wednesday 15 June – Hendon Hall, London

• Thursday 16 June – Walton Hall Hotel, Stratford upon Avon

Cost £225.00 + VAT per delegate.


 For more information on the iTOP training system, or to book, contact Curaprox on 01480 862084 or email [email protected] or visit


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